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GDP… ARGHHHH! Get your HR ready for the General Data Protection Regulations

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Over a year ago, General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) arrived on the statute book – and the penalties come into force on 25th May 2018. The regulations will apply across the EU, so make sure that you are ready!

Getting ready for GDPR
So why are very few SME businesses prepared? A survey carried out by Blanco Technology Group found that 43% of businesses have not started their data protection gap analysis – an essential first step.

Unless you have been a victim of your personal data being hacked and then abused – perhaps by identity fraudsters – then you may well see the new legislation as an irritation.

Unfortunately, following a breach, the fines for non-compliance have been designed to hurt significantly. The highest fine for the top tier is €20,000,000 – or up to 4% of global turnover. Ouch!

Most employers need to be registered with the DPC (Data Protection Commissioner) because they keep records of personal data which makes their staff identifiable. Frequently, this data will be shared with others, such as payroll providers.

If you are unsure about what you need to do, the DPC has a whole host of information on their site which will help. The new GDPR expands on the current Data Protection Regulation. But don’t panic! With a bit of planning and a bit of help, you will be able to ensure you are on the right side of the law on this.

What kind of data?
The information we are talking about is any personal data of employees and potential employees. This includes data generated from employees, their managers, third parties and personal data stored across multiples sites – including on computers, drives, cloud drives or systems, laptops and email.

What will you need to change?
First things first, take a good look at where and how HR data is stored and managed in your business, so you understand where you could fall foul of the new regulations. The main things to be aware of are:

1. Consent
The biggest thing to note when it comes to HR changes is about the notion of consent. Currently, consent to store and share data is assumed by the virtue of applying for a job or signing an employment contract. Under the new regulations, consent must be given freely, be specific, informed and unambiguous. It must also be separate from other terms and conditions such as the employment contract.

For example, employers are currently required to provide a privacy notice to job applicants that sets out how the data on them will be used and stored. The new rules mean that the applicant must be informed how long the data will be stored for, and how they can delete or rectify any data.

2. ‘fess up if you breach
The GDPR imposes a new mandatory breach reporting requirement. Where there has been a data breach (such as an accidental or unlawful loss, or disclosure of personal data), the employer will have to notify and provide certain information to the data protection authority within 72 hours.

3. Be ready for more subject access requests
The other change affects subject access requests. These can be genuine, but sometimes used by disgruntled employees to go on a fishing trip and see if they can find the email that proves you hated them!

There will no longer be a charger and the timeframe will go down from the current 40 days, although we’re still waiting for clarity from the DPC.

The HR Dept can help you prepare
The GDPR will affect all aspects of your business. Therefore, our advice would be to look at the DPC website and start to prepare for your whole business.

With regards to the HR changes needed within your business, we will be providing you with all the documents, assistance and resources you need – well ahead of the changes.

Time flies and there will be a lot to do between now and May 2018. But, as ever, The HR Dept will be here to help.

Ever wondered what skill sets your staff have beyond their job roles?

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You employed your staff, so you know what they are good at, right? Well, maybe in some cases. But it is likely that several of your staff have hidden talents beyond their job description that could be mutually beneficial to both your business and your employees.

Whether it’s speaking another language or having a creative streak such as photography or blog writing, these types of talents exist and are potentially waiting to be unleashed!

Discover employee interests

When recruiting new staff members, do you always ask what types of interests they have outside of work? If not, start taking note of these skills, however obscure! You never know when you might need them – it might just be the next activity for your team building or fundraising event.

Alternatively, why not create a staff survey for existing employees and ask your team to tell you if they have any skills that they would be willing to share?

As you come to understand the types of talent your workforce has, you may be able to see some cost savings of not having to procure external suppliers. In these instances, you might wish to reward your staff for their expertise and time, reimbursing any costs for supplies or equipment they may need.

Get inspired

Of course, there will be some skills which cannot be used directly in the workplace and during work hours, but why not get creative? Maybe someone enjoys practising yoga in their spare time. So perhaps you could offer them a chance to put on a yoga lesson once a month for their colleagues – to enhance wellbeing and productivity.

Or you might have a budding artist in your midst. Give them the opportunity to demonstrate their talent by commissioning a piece of artwork to enhance your office décor.

Not everyone loves the limelight

Do bear in mind though that not all staff will be forthcoming and want to share their talents. So, as employers, that must be respected. But for those that do, you are giving them an opportunity to showcase their talents in a professional environment to their colleagues.

This can be extra useful if you have a small team and there are limited opportunities for professional development. Cultivating these skills could provide a chance for your staff to feel that you’re helping them progress, whilst they are still contributing to the business. This could ultimately lead to you retaining these talented employees for longer.

The HR Dept are here to help

These kinds of talents are almost inevitably present. Harnessing these skills for your business can encourage your workplace to be a more engaged and collaborative one.

If you would like to find out more about how employee engagement can assist your SME, contact your local HR Dept expert.

Working from home- Keeping your remote employees engaged

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There are many benefits for both employers and employees in allowing staff to work from home. But it is possible that remote employees may become disconnected from their office-based colleagues.

A strong company culture is something many businesses will strive for. But some companies wonder how it can be possible to avoid isolating remote workers from the buzz of the day-to-day running of the business.

Staying in touch

We are often presented with the saying ‘communication is key’. But communication is vital to allow remote workers to contribute efficiently to the progression of the business.

Getting contact right is important to ensure the employee is available for team events, training and one-to-one meetings with you. Although this is made more difficult if they are far away, some face-to-face contact does make a difference.

Setting clear expectations of the quality and quantity of work you require is essential – especially if the employee is new to the business. This person is an employee like all the others, so manage them the same way with regular performance reviews.

Keep things moving with tech

We recommend using the latest tech to keep things running smoothly. For example, skyping or dialling-in workers to team meetings, so they are aware of the agenda for the upcoming week and future business projects.

At first, some of these changes may take a while to set in place before they become a natural process of the business. However, they are key to engaging your employee and making them feel part of the workforce.

Health and safety

Before anyone works from home, a health and safety risk assessment needs to be undertaken – but other risks need evaluating too.

It is safer to provide IT equipment. This is to ensure that the virus protection software is reliable and that your data is protected from others in the household.

How The HR Dept can help

You may be a little anxious about having remote employees, due to their potential to push the boundaries of their freedom. But having a clear plan set in place, and keeping in touch regularly, allows you to identify if any changes are needed. It will also keep them feeling part of the team!

If you need advice on how to manage remote employees, or want to make sure they are 100% involved in the business, contact The HR Dept – we’re here to help!